tv American Morning CNN June 28, 2010 6:00am-9:00am EDT
alex will likely become a hurricane in the next 48 hours. we'll get more on where alex is headed. the "a.m. fix" blog is up and running as it is every day. join the conversation going on right now at www.cnn.com/amfix. we begin with news just in to us this morning, sad news from the world of politics. west virginia senator robert byrd, the longest serving u.s. senator in u.s. history has died. he was 92 years old. >> senator byrd's office says he died just a few hours ago at a washington area hospital. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is following the story live from washington. he became ill quite suddenly but any way you look at it, 51 years in the senate. what a record. >> what a record. and it is hard to overstate how important this man has been to the united states senate. he really embodied the senate. he was a lover of his tradition, the keeper -- unofficial keeper
of the tradition and rules of the senate. he served 13 presidents. if you can imagine that. 13 presidents and he always liked to remind people when he waved the constitution that he always kept in his breast pocket that it was the legislative branch that was mentioned first in the constitution before the executive branch, before the president of the united states. i had a chance to sit down with senator byrd. he has been quite ill and frail for the past several years, but before then, in fact on the anniversary of becoming the longest serving senator, i had a fact to sit down with him and i asked him about what the chapter would look like on him. >> you are not only a student 69 history of the senate but you obviously wrote the history of the senate. so given that, looking at this milestone, what will the paragraph or chapter on robert c. byrd say? what should it say?
>> the chapter isn't written yet, the last chapter. and there may be several chapters ahead. so we'll wait and see. i love the senate. so i've seen great changes in the senate. but the senate is still the premier spark of brilliance that the framers had in framing the constitution and in forming the government and in being founders of this republic. >> there you heard him talking about the united states senate. he was there back during the civil rights act, the debate. john and kiran, that was his longe longest ph
longest filibuster in 1964. it was 14 hours and 13 minutes against the civil rights act. senator byrd told me and probably anyone who would listen over the last several years that he regretted that vote against the civil rights act. he said it was because of the southern atmosphere in which he grew up and all of its "prejudices" and its feelings. again, this was the titan of the senate. his presence, although he was ailing in the past few years, his presence was felt every day and his lack -- absence will be missed. >> he also had to spend some time trying to live down his short membership in the kkk as well. >> he did. in fact he has called that the albatross around his next. in terms of the membership in the kkk, he said to me actually in that interview, "it will always be there, it will be in my obituary." he says he never hesitated to say that that membership as a very young man growing up in west virginia, the son of coal miners, very, very poor at the time. he said was the subject of
his -- of where he lived and he said he never hesitated to say it was the greatest mistake of my life. but one other thing talking about west virginia, if anybody has driven through the state of west virginia, you cannot help but notice you are driving on a robert c. byrd road, or you are passing a robert c. byrd building. there is so much in the state of west virginia that is named after him. why is that? because he sent so much federal money back to the state of west virginia. he was known as the king of poor. he wore that very, very proudly. he said that is his role as a united states senator and he actually was the chairman of the appropriations committee which of course is the committee that is in charge of the pursestrings. he used that to the greatest extent and he absolutely made no apologies for it. he said i'm a hillbilly and that is what i remember about west virginia. if i can help the people of west virginia with every penny i can, i'm going to do it. >> certainly nothing short of a remarkable career in the senate. also other big news there in capitol today, elena kagan's
nomination for the supreme court begins today. >> we haven't heard a lot compared to past nominees about this issue because the white house has been trying to keep it very low key. they have benefited ironically in some ways from other big news happening. but you can bet republicans and they're already saying they are going to try to make the case that they believe that elena kagan is somebody without judicial experience, which is true, that she is not somebody who even appeared before a jury, ever, in her legal term. they're going to point out the fact that in the 180,000 documents that they have gotten from her time serving as a political appointee for the clinton administration, that she has a pretty high political antenna and what they are going to say on the republican side is that that's not necessarily appropriate for somebody who is going to serve on the highest court in the land. you'll hear democrats saying, just because she has no judicial experience does not mean she is ready to serve and pointing out the fact that she does have
support from some pretty prominent conservatives as well as liberals out there in the legal community. >> certainly a lack of judicial experience didn't stop william rehnquist from playing a fairly prominent role at the supreme court. >> great point. >> dana bash, thanks so much. coming up at 7:40 eastern we'll talk to republican senator jeff sessions of alabama. he'll be one of those grueling elena kagan during the hearings today. >> cnn will have live coverage of the kagan confirmation hearings starting at noon eastern. more sad news to report this morning. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg loses her husband after a long battle with cancer. martin ginsburg was 78 years old, a washington lawyer and georgetown law professor. the couple had just celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary last week. ruth ginsburg who joined the high court in 1993 says she succeeded in large part because of her husband's support. former vice president dick cheney is expected to be out of the hospital today. he was admitted to a washington
hospital on friday for fluid retention related to his heart disease. cheney has a long history of heart problems and suffered his fifth heart attack in february. some major developments to tell you about in the gulf oil spill. a milestone of sorts today. it is now day 70 of this disaster. we're watching another potential problem going on. alex, the storm moving back into the gulf, it is a tropical storm again. right now not on track to hit the oil leak area directly but the last-minute shift of course could potentially shut down the containment effort for up to two weeks. >> right now without the storm getting in the way, bp says it is on target to finish the relief well by mid-august. the company says it is now spending $100 million a day on the response to the spill. the obama administration now appealing a judge's ruling that overturned a six-month ban on deepwater drilling. while the tug-of-war plays out, people's livelihoods are on the way far away from the gulf. turns out bp is going to be on
the hook for them, too. >> chris lawrence is live for us in new orleans with more on this. we talked about the idling of course of the people who work on the drilling rigs with that moratorium. it looks like bp is going to be responsible for their livelihoods as well? >> reporter: yeah, that's right, kiran, john. just last week right here on this show we talked about how for the first time bp was coming out saying they wanted an end to the moratorium. now we may know why, because it looks like they are going to be responsible for a lot more claims. first the oil spill itself took out the fish he men and restaurant owners. bp set up a $20 billion fund to cover their damages. president obama's six-month ban shut down deepwater drilling and bp set aside another $100 million to pay the workers on those oil rigs. but the truckers, loaders, caterers and cleaners that supported those shutdown rigs had nothing except rising anger at washington over what the ban's done to them.
take anthony tibideaux. how's the moratorium affecting you? >> i basically have no job. i'm normally checking in 8, 10, 12 trucks a day, loading off two boats to go offshore to an oil rig. i got none. no boats out. i feel like a dead man walking. i know i'm just waiting for the ax to fall because it's got to. that company cannot survive holding on to guys like me. they can't. >> reporter: is this just affecting people who live right along the gulf coast of louisiana? >> no. no. i live in atlanta. i drive to work every week. the riggers and crane operators and stuff like that come from mississippi. you know? there's some from alabama. >> reporter: this weekend we took their concerns to ken feinberg. >> how are we supposed to feed our families, pay our bills, get to work? >> i understand that you only want what you're entitled to as an unfortunate victim of this spill.
>> reporter: the man president obama appointed to take charge of the claims process to see if their damages can be covered. will you be handling any claims at all for people whose businesses have been affected by the moratorium? >> yes. i now have discovered -- i didn't realize this until yesterday -- but the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction. >> reporter: that's a huge development. we didn't know that before -- >> i didn't either. i just learned yesterday that the administration and bp have agreed that the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction. >> reporter: again, this is something that bp did not initially agree to, possibly under the grounds that they were responsible for the oil spill but it was the obama administration that imposed the moratorium. this doesn't solve all the problems for these folks, but now at least they have somewhere to go, file claims, possibly recover some damages that can keep them afloat. john? kiran? >> pretty ironic that the guy who is in charge of
administering the escrow fund didn't even know. you have to forgive people along the gulf coast if they're confused about all this. amazing. >> reporter: yeah. sounds like it was a deal worked out between the government and bp, somewhat recently. >> they should tell the guy in charge, don't you think? >> reporter: yeah. the first major storm of the hurricane season, tropical storm alex back out in the gulf of mexico. it is gaining strength fast. what does that potentially mean for the oil spill cleanup? it is going to create waves anywhere it goes. reynold wolf is in our hurricane headquarters this morning. >> you know, you're right. the number one this is going to cause for the oil spill, it will enhance the wave action. no question about it. other than waves, doesn't appear it will have any direct effect on the oil cleanup, although a lot can change. we've seen this storm weaken a little bit over the last couple of hours. now punching out in the gulf of mexico and bay of campechie. it has been gaining strength as it interacts with the warm
water. where is this thing headed next? in the is the latest forecast from the national hurricane center. notice that it is expected to continue on its northwesterly trajectory. as it interabts with the very warm water and minimal shear aloft it will gain strength. forecast has winds 100 miles per hour early wednesday, which early thursday winds sustained at 110 miles per hour, gusts up to 135, possibly making landfall by midday on thursday. south of brownsville, texas, then moving into mexico as we get into friday and saturday. keep in mind, you have to look at the cone of uncertainty. it is pretty big. it goes a long direction southward into the gulf of mexico, perhaps back into texas. a lot of uncertainty. in 2005 with hurricane charley, all models had it going in one direction but it pulled away and went toward the other way.
16 minutes past the hour. we're continuing to cover breaking news this morning learning of death of west virginia senator robbed byrd. much more on the story throughout the morning but a quick check of the other stories this morning. a judge in peru ruling joran van der sloot's confession is valid. he confessed to murdering stephany flores last month, then changed his mind saying police forced him into that confession but the judge rejected his claim and upheld the confession. van der sloot now faces 35 years in a peruvian prison. he is also still a suspect in natalee holloway's disappearance in 2005 in aruba, though he's never been charged in that case. the weekend g-20 summit in toronto played out with the backdrop of protests, some of which turned violent. police made hundreds of arrests. they used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse some of the demonstrators who smashed windows and set several police cars on fire around the city. also, it is a kind of colorful language that you sometimes hear when vice
president joe biden is around an open mike. he was in milwaukee saturday. it was a campaign stop for senator russ feingold and he stopped at a custard shop. >> why don't you say something nice instead of being a smartass. >> the store manager told reporters that he enjoyed the banter with biden and also said that biden later whispered to him, "i'm just kidding." prince harry falling and bounced off on his royal keyster at a polo match in new york. he was about to take a swing when the horse put on his brakes and he went down on his royal rear end. the prince got back up in the saddle and finished the match. he was raising money for children with aids in africa. he got a cheer from the a-listers in the audience for the tumble.
>> it was a pretty good fall actually. he held on until the last second. >> always hang on to the reins. coming up, the president pledging to slash the deficit in half by 2013. christine romans is "minding your business." >> a big deficit the president says he can do. he was at the g-20 where frankly they're terrified of deficits and debts and what that can do to your country and to the future of your country and future generations. what was the balance struck between continuing growth -- i mean this government wants to continue spending -- but also cutting spending in the long term. it is a tough balancing act. i'll tell you right after the break.
21 minutes after the hour. new this morning, a rise in gas prices that actually will not make you cringe. the price of a gallon is up a nickel in the past two weeks but a lundberg survey finds gas is not likely to swing much higher than that. experts say the market is flat right now giving refiners few opportunities to pass on increases to customers. but don't forget, it is
hurricane season and that can change pretty quickly. it is not exactly to infinity and beyond, but "toy story 3" was tops at the box office again it weekend, earning another $59 million holding on to the number one spot. in second place, adam sandler's comedy "grown-ups." then "knight and day." tom cruise's reemergence and cameron diaz as well came in third. >> christine romans is minding your business this morning. there was a big nod toward both deficit reduction and continuing stimulus at the g-20 summit. >> how do you have both? this group saying they can do both in the very near term. they need to keep the stimulus going but longer term look to cutting deficits. if you're a european leader you are scared to death of debts and deficits right now. if you're in the united states, our government has been pushing a continuation of spending. they're trying to seek a balance of growth of the u.s. and continued spending in the u.s. and in europe the buzzwords are austerity, cutting back, paying
for what they've already spent and trying to pull back some of their public benefits. these are two ideas that seem to be at odds but they've managed in the way that they do at these events to make it sound like it is all compassable. it really is a balancing act. 20 different leaders who have very significant domestic priorities. i like to think of them as on a high-wire juggling flaming chain saws and the rest of us want to know what the rest of the economy will look like in the end. they don't want a double-dip recession. they didn't say those words of but this is what they all fear. this is what the president said about his keeping the spending going in the near term but having an eye to fiscal responsibility later on. >> it's ahead. and because a durable recovery must also include fiscal responsibility, we agreed to balance the need for continued growth in the short term and fiscal sustainability in the medium term. in the united states, i've set a goal of cutting our deficit half
by 2013. that's a nod to the deficit hawks. he's said this before and this government has said that they will cut the deficit in half. the projection right now 2010 from the cbo, congressional budget office, is we'll have a deficit of $1.5 trillion. how big is that? that's a tenth of our economy. it's huge! it's huge. you want something like 3%. we get down to i think 3.9% is what the administration pledges we'll get to by 2014. still too big but an improvement. that is of course, assuming everything goes right and you don't have a double-dip recession. there are some people who were watching all of this saying all of these people around the table, those 20 people around the table are all hoping for a miracle of growth that's going to let them have all of these promises. >> the next thing. right? >> they're all hoping -- hoping for a miracle. >> well, look. behind the scenes they're pressing our friends and allies saying, the united states and
western europe, rich countries can't drive the world's growth by going into debt to buy your consumer goods. so we have to rebalance how the economy looks going forward. we haven't really done that yet. >> hope and miracle, two troubling words to hear from the leaders. it was supposed to be one of those recession-proof jobs but with stimulus dollars running out in schools across the nation, more and more teachers are finding themselves without a job. is there a solution? is there a solution? we'll talk about it coming up. never fear civilians! a postal carrier!! you guys need a priority mail flat rate box.
coming up now, 28 minutes after the hour. top stories just a couple of minutes away. but first an "a.m. original," something you'll see only on "american morning." when the economy tanked there were a few jobs that people considered to be recession-proof. one of those jobs, teachers. but as our mary snow reports for us this morning, with stimulus dollars running out in school districts across the nation, thousands of teachers are finding themselves now without a class to teach. >> reporter: at this job fair for teachers in austin, texas, organizers report record turnout. 1,000 prospective teachers attended but this year fewer school district representatives showed up with jobs to offer. >> i know it's hard out there but i'm here hoping that one of these school districts will see something in me they like. >> reporter: organizers say many districts were there to collect r r resumes but had no open positions. it is a problem across the
country. andrea left her job in an embattled music industry in new york to get her teaching degree. >> reporter: did you think it was a safe teaching choice? >>dy at the time. the market was great, new york city needed teachers desperately. everyone was recruiting. i thought i'll go to school, two years i'll have a job in five minutes. that's not what happened. >> reporter: so miller-hamilton bar tends until she makes money to find that job. she and her family even moved to new jersey recently in hopes of better hiring prospects but the picture is grim. 15,000 teachers in new york state face layoffs. in illinois it's 20,000. in california, 26,000. mags wi nationwide, 275,000 teaching jobs are on the line according to a national group of school administrators. a big reason why -- stimulus money is gone. >> those stimulus dollars were much needed and much, much appreciated but it was one-time money and that money is running out. >> i would say this is the deepest dip that we've seen
since world war 2. >> reporter: thomas james is the dean of columbia teachers college who says some graduates are getting jobs. >> i think they're doing better in some fields such as special education or in math and science. also for english and language learners, that's another field. but i'd say the broad answer would be it is a tough summer for teachers. >> reporter: mary snow, cnn, new york. 30 minutes past the hour. time to check our top stories this morning. some sad news out of washington. senator robert byrd, the nation's longest serving member of congress, has passed away. the 92-year-old west virginia democrat was rushed to the hospital last weekend. initially they thought it was just heat exhaustion and severe dehydration but later doctors say other conditions developed and he was listed as serious. byrd was elected to the house back in 1952, became a senator in 1958 and he is the only person elected to nine full terms in the senate. tropical storm alex is in the gulf of mexico now expected to become a hurricane. possibly some time today. the cnn weather team is
forecasting that it will likely make landfall in mexico's eastern coast but the storm could head up north potentially churning up waves that could affect clean-up efforts off of louisiana for two weeks. up to 2.5 million gallons of crude oil are spilling into the gulf every day. in a few hours, confirmation hearings begin for president obama's choice to replace justice john paul stevens on the high court. republicans are questioning elena kagan's thin jew diudicia record and her politics. cnn will have live coverage of the confirmation hearings at noon eastern today. it will be interesting to see just how much information the senators can get out of elena kagan today. her career path to solicitor general don't offer a lot of insight into her political leanings. >> this morning we're digging deeper. jason carroll joins us now. you talk to some of her close friends. >> last friday up in washington, d.c. they tell us -- everyone tells
us she's modest, she's approachable, she's extremely intelligent. just the kind of qualifications you'd look for in a nominee. but first kagan has to get through that confirmation hearing process. she says she finds fall with that exact process saying it doesn't really help the public learn something significant about a nominee. her friends are hoping the process shows she is the right person for the job. >> solicitor general and my friend, elena kagan. >> reporter: the announcement not entirely unexpected. elena kagan had been on the short list for some time. but it still came as somewhat of a shock to her friends, like kevin and josh. >> sort of had to lis an few times to make sure i heard it right. >> it was very sur vereal stand next to the president. >> reporter: do you remember what your thoughts were when you heard that the president had chosen her? >> holy [ bleep ] -- oh, sorry.
but then i thought, a peer of mine is going to be on the supreme court? it's like -- and you cover the michael jackson case? you know. >> reporter: toobin first met kagan at harvard law school back in the '80s. >> my early impressions of elena were, even at harvard law school, which is full of people who are smart, and who think they're very smart, she was unusually intelligent. but also unusually well adjusted. >> reporter: harvard would play an important role in kagan's career. high points include law clerk for justice thurgood marshall, domestic policy director in the clinton white house, the first woman dean of the harvard law school, and solicitor general in president obama's administration. these two remember kagan back when they were harvard law students and she was the dean. if someone were to ask you, what's she really like? what would you say? >> i would say she has an
enormous appetite for information. in all capacities. >> reporter: he also worked with kagan when she was a speech writer in the clinton administration. >> she is obviously incredibly bright and always well prepared and you better know your stuff when you see her. >> reporter: kagan is not without critics who question her lack of judicial experience. if confirmed, she would be the first appointee in nearly 40 years who has not been a judge. >> so she does have a lack in that area. >> reporter: senator jeffrey sessions is the ranking republican on the judiciary committee. he plans to question kagan on a number of topics during the hearing, including gun control and abortion. but will she answer? in 1995 kagan criticized the process calling it a hollow charade. saying senators should insist a nominee reveal their views on important legal issues. i'm wondering if those words are going to come back to haunt her as she herself goes through the proceedings.
>> well, i think so. >> reporter: you think so. >> well, i think they'll be raised. >> reporter: jeffrey toobin has a sense of how the hearings starting today will go. >> i think her critique of the hearings was dead-on. i expect she will not follow her own advice and will instead follow the advice of the people in the white house which is always, say as little as possible. >> well, we'll be watching today to see if toobin was right. during kagan's confirmation hearing for solicitor general, she was asked about her lack of judicial experience. she said then the communication skills she developed that made her an excellent teacher would also help her argue. maybe we'll see if she ends up using that same argument today when she's questioned. >> big knock on her is that even though she's not a judge, that might be fine but she doesn't have a lot of experience as, say, a trial attorney. but when you're the dean of harvard law school, that's got to count for something, you would think. >> well, we'll see if it counts
when sessions questions her later on today. >> we'll question him this morning in about an hour. lookinging forward to that. it is the most sweeping change of the u.s. financial system since the great depression and congress still has to give its seal of approval. but will the bank overhaul bill actually help you or hurt you? we'll be talking much more about what it means and whether it handles some of the problems that got us to the worst financial crisis since the great depression. 36 minutes past the hour. every . to improve our technology and your safety. it's an investment that's helped toyota earn multiple top safety pick awards for 2010 by the insurance institute for highway safety. no other brand has won more. these top safety picks, and all our new safety innovations are available at toyota.com/safety.
welcome back to the most news in the morning. 39 minutes past the hour right now. this week could bring the most extensive remapping of banking regulation we've seen since the great depression. after months of uncertainty, lawmakers this week are expected to pass an overhaul of the financial system. it would affect how the markets and the government interact for decades to come. it also was designed to protect the consumer. so does it? "minding your business" this morning, christine romans and senior editor at bloomberg business week, diane brady. we talk about the biggest collapse of the financial world literally being on the brink, the oxygen being sucked out of
the room when the treasury secretary was talking to the big banks. does this bill prevent this from happening again? christine? >> it would -- well, what happened to us probably could never really happen again, it was such a series of once in a lifetime things. what it does is it prevents what happened, it allows the government to go in and take apart a company, yes. it does regulate some derivatives, yes. it goes farther than we've gone in 70 years but many say the next crisis we have will be a different crisis completely and we won't know how to prevent that really. it gives more banking supervision which i think is important here. >> i think it does. i think the key is that there is still a lot of assumptions in place. financial innovation is good. right? that thought is here in the first place. i think there is an assumption that big banks are okay so there is not this sense of break them up. i think there's also a sense that markets are efficient. so even though we have regulation, basically you're leaving the infrastructure in place, they're just trying to put in more cautions. >> it's been a year since the treasury department first talked
about drafting a financial regulation bill. we've obviously had a lot of changes since then. but how tough is this package on the banks? >> i think they want a lot of concessions. they still are allowed to do their own trading. they don't have quite the same freedom they had before. yes, if they fail they'll be liquidated. but to be lon nehonest, if a co is too big to fail, no government is going to go in and cause that kind of carnage with jobs. the other thing that's gotten people angry is executive pay. though in essence some say that remains in place as well so they have to be more conservatives but ultimately, it is business as usual. >> what does $600 million of lobbying get the banks? >> they still have their own proprietary trading desks, they can still invest in hedge funds and private equity. consumer advocates say it doesn't really clang anything there. bank stocks all rallied on friday. people were saying that's because banks breathed a sigh of
relief, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. it wasn't as helpful as they had hoped and their $600 million in lobbying had hoped for, but it was better than that. other things consumers didn't get -- auto loans aren't in this. the consumer protection agency will not cover auto loans. that's still individual dealers and individual companies allowed to do that. they didn't touch fannie mae and freddie mac which are wards of the state and huge problems for the american taxpayer. didn't touch that at all. >> what would have been recommended? when we talk about what fannie and freddie do and a lot of talk about people getting loans that they knew they couldn't pay or that they were led to believe they could pay and couldn't pay, as sort of the beginning strings of unraveling all this, how is that being tackled or the fact that it's being left in place, what does that potentially do? >> there is still this belief that the burden is on the consumers. even though there's consumer protection, they're talking about basically this consumer beware sort of situation where you've got plain english, where you've got -- i'm talking about
the consumer protection agency. in essence, all of the infrastructure and fannie and freddie was really at the beginning of this whole mess, they've just left in place. they've left everything people potentially wanted to break up and change, none of that has really changed. so we in some cases are around the margins, yes. it is a very ambitious bill, a bill that goes from everything from consumers to the banks. but in essence, it doesn't really change that much. >> there are no caps on credit card interest rates either. that's something that consumer groups have been very angry about. in the very beginning they wanted to say 36% interest should be the cap for payday loans, for credit card -- 36% interest still sounds crazy! right? there should be caps on how much interest and interest rate you can -- but that's not in here. there are really no caps. >> when you look at consumers, i think that ultimately you have recognize that bad judgment is very profitable for the banks. so by and large -- >> our bad judgment is very profitable. >> yes. if you're somebody who runs a credit card bill and is not paying on time, that's been very
lucrative. the more you take that away from the banks, there's going to be more of an incentive for them to spread those fees among everybody basically. the more you face banks to keep more of a capital cushion, the more conservative they have to be, the less likely they are to lend. so tighter regulation can lead to tighter credit. that's been a problem. so that's one thing people worry about. i think the other thing that's interesting is, we're in a global banking system and the last time we had major r regulation sarbanes-oxl sarbanes-oxley, there was a fear business would go overturns. that turned out to be somewhat. this bill is very hard to regulate what's been a global system. takes one of the key points for the banking lobby. >> you mention sarbanes-oxley because the supreme court is going to be taking this up, possibly even throwing out this bill that was designed to reform corporate america. so, we'll see how this ends. but it's an interesting step. thanks to both of you for
breaking it down for us. christine romans and diane brady, always nice to see you. some of the ocean's predators could become prey of an environmental disaster. we're taking a trip to the gulf waters where shark experts are tagging sharks now to find out how the bp oil spill will affect sea life for years to come. and we're also keeping a close eye on tropical storm alex. reynolds wolf in this morning. he'll have an update on the storm's progress right after the break.
good morning, new york city. a shot of the empire state building there, along with the metlife building and some others, all kind of peppered in there. 83 degrees and sunny right now. later on today, 90 degrees and some afternoon thunderstorms. be aware there is some bad weather coming your way. >> right now it is sticky already this morning. 48 minutes past the hour. we get a check of this morning's weather headlines. reynolds wolf, you could practically chew the air today in new york, that's how thick it is. >> that high humidity in new york will be some of the fuel you have for potential and strong storms from the nation's capital, new york, boston, even southern maine you may have big storms. the largest on the planet happens to be this monster right here. this is alex which was weak about 24 hours ago as it was going across the yucatan peninsula away from the warm waters of the caribbean, now moving into the bay of
campechie, then eventually into the gulf of mexico. very warm water and minimal shear ahead of this. the forecast for this one from the national hurricane center shows this storm is expected to gain some strength and we're talking about winds going up to 100 miles per hour as we get into early wednesday morning. let's fast-foorward. you'll see this big white shaded area, that's called the cone of uncertainty. uncertain? absolutely. we're talking about a rotating storm on a spinning planet. a lot can happen with this storm but we anticipate it getting stronger, possibly with winds sustained at 110 miles per hour. gusts will always be stronger, some of these up to 135 by 2:00 a.m. thursday. the way it stands right now, the path would bring it in just south of the texas and mexico border. as we get into i'd say about friday afternoon, give or take a while. but these storms are nearly 1,000 miles in width. you'll feel the effects of being places back where the oil recovery will be taking place you can expect enhanced wave action, no question about it. we'll watch this thing for you
very carefully. these next storms very fickle. fickle, too, chance of storms across parts of the northeast. this area from maine southward to the nation's capital, expect delays in all your major airports, all of new york, philadelphia, even down to reagan and even dulles for that matter. look for back-ups also in atlanta and of course dallas could have some waits on the tarmac also. that's a quick snapshot of your forecast. a busy day and busy week weatherwise. back to you in the studio in new york. >> reynolds, thank so much. breaking news this morning, senator robert byrd, the longest serving member of congress in history, has died at the age of 92. 20,774 days on capitol hill. we'll take a look back at his life and his legacy. also, sea legs that never rest as teen sailor abby sunderland heads home from her failed around-the-world attempt. i get a lesson in sailing, the dangers and demands of solo sailing, being out there alone. right after the break, to catch a predator.
welcome back. 54 minutes past the hour. you may not think of sharks as vulnerable animals, but of course the gulf oil spill could change all that. the toxic oil in the water is threatening their ability to eat and to even breathe. >> john zarrella followed a group of shark scientists from the university of miami who are tagging and tracking sharks offer of the florida coast. will these predators show them where the spill is headed? >> reporter: john, kiran, i'm in the gulf of mexico with university researchers who are capturing, tagging and studying sharks. the research may very well lead to a better understanding of how the oil spill is affecting these creatures at the top of the food chain. a six-foot shark. >> we got a nice lemon, guys. >> reporter: the researchers work quickly, taking blood and tissue samples, measurements. university of miami researchers are studying the migratory
habits of sharks in florida waters. the oil spill has given the work a new, more urgent dimension. >> there is the possibility that these animals might be able to anticipate the oil or sense the oil and actually move away from it. it's really unknown right now. >> reporter: this lemon shark will provide valuable data, but when it comes to what they're looking for, it's well, a lemon. he's after the great sharks -- tigers, hammerheads, bulls. they travel greater distances. if his team lands one, it will be tagged with a satellite transmitter. if the shark goes near or into the oil, he will know it. one shark the team tagged transmitted nearly every day for three months. but two days after the deep horizon explosion, the transmissions suddenly stopped. coincidence? perhaps. here's what the hammerhead's track looked like the days
before it disappeared. >> the tag could have failed or it could have headed off somewhere else into deep water and just not come up in the last few months. but that's very unlike the shark's character. >> reporter: on this day at sea, the lemons keep coming. three blacktips, too. the blood and tissue from these guys will be tested for concentrations of hydrocarbons from oil. scientists worry sharks could easily be contaminated, even if they never swim through the oil. >> there's fishing areas been closed in the gulf of mexico because they don't want people to catch any dead fish. but i don't know if the sharks got the memo. >> reporter: because it is a natural predator, a reduced shark population impacts the balance of nature. there will be enough work, scientists say, for researchers to be studying the effects of oil on the sharks for decades. john? kiran. >> john zarrella for us this morning.
i wouldn't want to get near the business of the sharks like those guys. >> the fact they're tracking that shark and he just sort of went off the radar. it could be the worst case scenario as well. he could have perished. >> could be a number of different things. they're not sure about that yet. maybe he'll pop up, one of these days. top stories coming your way right after the break. stay with us. when our clients' needs changed we changed to meet them. through the years, when some lost their way, we led the way with new ideas for the financial challenges we knew would lie ahead. this rock has never stood still. and there's one thing that will never change. we are, the rock you can rely on. prudential. twenty-five thousand mornings, give or take, is all we humans get. we spend them on treadmills. we spend them in traffic. and if we get lucky, really lucky,
on the most news in the morning >> i'm kiran chetry. breaking news overnight. a legend in the u.s. senate, robert byrd of west virginia has died. he was 92 years old. byrd served longer in the senate than anyone in u.s. history. dana bash will have more in a moment. all eyes in the gulf are on alex this morning. the tropical storm is back over warm water and gaining strength,
expected to steer clear of the oil spill. the storm itself. but the experts warning nothing is certain and certainly it will be kicking up a lot of waves that will fill that bowl of the gulf of mexico. a full update from your hurricane headquarters. cia director leon panetta says he believes iran is still working to develop its nuclear capability but how long before tehran gets its hands on a nuclear weapon? we'll have the next response. breaking news this morning, sad news. the passing of west virginia senator robert byrd at the age of 92. he served if the senate longer than anyone in u.s. history. >> this morning, words of tribute are pouring in from his colleagues in congress. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is live on capitol hill this morning. dana, byrd had a well-earned reputation as a legislator who knew how to work the system. >> he certainly knew how to work the system. he was the system effectively. he was really the master of the senate. he was the master of its
tradition and rules and history. senator byrd was not only the longest serving senator, he was the longest serving member of congress in american history. he served here in congress during the terms of 13 -- 13 -- presidents. he always carried the constitution in his pocket. he was, from his perspective, a keeper of the constitution and wanted to remind people anyone who would listen when he was speaking with his flourishes on the senate floor or maybe when he would pass a tourist on the hallway that it is the legislative branch that is mentioned first in the u.s. constitution. senator byrd is somebody who really had an impact on his colleagues. he was somebody who people when they first came to the senate always would go to to in some ways kiss the ring. but in other ways really learn from him because he was a living member of history. he also is somebody who made it very clear that he thought that it was his responsibility, even in recent years when the whole idea of pork barrel projects became dirty words, he said no
way. he said he wore it as a badge of honor the whole concept of sending back millions and millions of dollars to his impoverished home state of west virginia. back in 2006 when he became the longest serving senator, i had a chance to ask him about that. listen to what he said. you have gotten the label "the king of pork," but you wear that as a badge of honor. don't you? >> i do. i'm here to represent the people of west virginia and they want me to serve them. my state has been a land-locked state, a poverty-ridden state. my memory is as good as it ever was, and it's stock full of recollections about the poor people of west virginia, how they were laughed at. they were the laughingstock. yes, i'm a hillbilly. proud of it. proud of it. but i knew what the people of west virginia sent me to washington for. they sent me to washington to
represent them. >> reporter: now as the son of the south, senator byrd, talked about the fact that especially in the early days back in the '60s he made some decisions that he later in life regretted. for are example, his longest filibuster was 14 hours and 13 minutes in 1964 against the civil rights act. he later called that a big mistake. really in recent days even he was certainly ill. there was no question he was not the same person at age 92. but john and kiran, even last week when general david petraeus came to the senate, i bumped into him as he was walking into the capitol. where was he going? he was going to pay a visit to senator robert byrd, one of his first visits to speak to a man who at that time he had thought was going to be a vote for his confirmation. john and kiran? >> certainly a man of extraordinary passion all through his time there in congress. we should mention this morning now, dana, you are inside the hearing room where elena kagan is going to be questioned, part of her nomination proceedings to become
the next associate justice of the supreme court. should she be confirmed. what can we expect there today? any real fireworks? >> reporter: well, what we're going to see today -- i am in the hearing room -- we'll see opening statements from the panel behind me and also from the nominee herself, elena kagan. this is where she is going to be sitting. you see a lone chair there. she is going to be at the end of the day likely delivering her first real words since she was first nominated by the president last month explaining why she believes that she would be an appropriate supreme court justice. now meanwhile you are going to have this panel. they're all going to be giving their opening statements. on this side, had is where the republicans are going to sit. what we have been hearing from the republicans is -- are complaints about the fact that she has no jew tisudicial exper and the fact when they went through about the 180,000 documents, what they've seen from her time in the clinton
administration especially is a lot of politicking and the discussion about the big issues like gun control, like abortion and so forth from the perspective of what will be best for political purposes. republicans are already saying they believe that that is not appropriate for the supreme court, especially the man who's going to sit right over here, senator jeff sessions, the ranking republican. listen to what he says. >> she's never tried a case before a jury or criminal case. she's never been a judge. and so i think that raises questions about wabout whether her political beliefs are so strong, particularly in light of her admiration for some of the nation's most activist judges, then i think it raises question about whether she'll be faithful to the law, follow the constitution even if she doesn't agree with it, even if it ham percent the advancement of some policy goal that she would like to see. where but what you're going to hear from the democrats who of course are going to take up the majority of this committee, be
taking up this panel here, is that they believe she absolutely will take politics out of her decision making and they believe that that is proved by the fact she actually has gotten some support from conservative legal minds, prominent ones, as well as liberal legal minds. but one interesting note that i think we are going to hear over and over again when she comes in here is that back when she was a staffer on this very committee, john and kiran, during the ruth bader ginsburg confirmation hearings, later she called this whole process a hollow charade because the nominee wouldn't answer the question. so you can bet that those words are going to come back to haunt her. >> we'll see if she answers any questions, too. dana bash, thanks so much. >> her buddy jeffrey toobin says she shouldn't follow her own advice. we'll see what happens with that. just coming up in about a half-hour, we'll speak with alabama senator jeff sessions, the ranking republican on the judiciary committee. we'll talk to him about what he wants to hear from elena kagan
today. also cnn will have live coverage of the kagan confirmation hearings beginning at noon eastern. meantime, more news from the supreme court today. justice ruth bader ginsburg loses her husband after a long battle with cancer. martin ginsburg was just 78 years old, known as marty. he was a washington lawyer and a georgetown law professor. the couple just celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary last week, in fact. ruth ginsburg joined the high court in 1993 and said that she succeeded in large part because of her husband's support. former vice president dick cheney is expected to be released from a washington hospital today after complications from heart disease. doctors say he suffered an irregular heart rhythm on friday from fluid retention in his heart. cheney suffered his fifth heart attack back in february. at 7:53 eastern, elizabeth cohen will explain what this latest episode means for cheney's overall health. it is now day 70 of the gulf
oil spill. thick gobs of oil are now washing up in mississippi. crews were along the beaches yesterday collecting tar balls. the local mayor says, "it's hit us now." the white house says vice president joe biden will be in the gulf tomorrow after four visits by president obama. this will be the vp's first since the spill began. also we're watching alex, a tropical storm again moving back into the gulf and right now it is not on track to hit the oil leak area directly. >> but any last-minute shift in its track can potentially shut down the containment effort for as much as two weeks. of course, regardless of where it is, it is certainly going to churn up the waters in the gulf there with some waves. renlts wolf in our hurricane headquarters this morning with alex's potential impact on the spill recovery efforts. morning, reynolds. >> morning, guys. it is hard to believe -- wrap your mind around this -- this system started off as a cluster of thunderstorms that swept right off the african coast, right along the tropical convergence zone, through the
caribbean. now it made its way across the yucatan, got kind of weak yesterday but now that it is moving out over the open water it is building up strength, moving to an area of very warm water which will help fuel this thing but more importantly, it is moving to an area with minimal shear. winds are forecast to be 100 miles per hour as you get into wednesday. thursday, winds at 110. possibly making landfall i would think by midday on friday. perhaps even -- i'm sorry, thursday, midday on thursday. possibly making landfall south of brownsville, texas, north of tam pea ka, mexico. that's just the forecast for the national hurricane center. they'll tell you these storms can be very tricky. rotating storm on a spinning planet, can go farther to the south, perhaps farther to the south. the shaded area in white is called your cone of uncertainty. many changes will take place over the next couple hours and next couple of days. good chance the storm could go toward texas and new mexico. it all bears watching.
cnn is your hurricane headquarters. >> reynolds wolf, thanks so much. we'll keep an eye on this throughout the morning. also new this morning, a warning that iran is clearly working to represent its nuclear capabilities. in an interview with abc "this week," cia director leon panetta says that if tehran decides to make a nuclear weapon, it could have a bomb in about two years. >> i think what's happened is the more we put pressure on the al qaeda leadership in the tribal areas in pakistan, and i would say that as a result of our operations, that the taliban leadership is probably at its weakest point since 9/11 and their escape from afghanistan into pakistan. having said that, they clearly are continuing to plan, continuing to try to attack this country. >> so that was actually leon
panetta weighing in on the goal of our fighting in afghanistan and whether or not we've made a dent in al qaeda and the taliban there. but he also did speak about iran expressing some doubts that sanctions would be enough to get iran to end its nuclear program. the weekend g-20 summit in toronto played out among the backdrop of protests, some of which turned out to be violent. police made hundreds of arrests. demonstrators smashed windows and set several police cars on fire around the city. also kellogg's cereals. problems this morning. a giant recall. 28 million boxes of corn pops, honeysmacks, fruit loops and apple jacks. the recall, because of an odd flavor and smell that's been reported. boxes with the letters "kn" before the "use by" date are affected. for more information, head to
along the gulf coast after the vietnamese war. >> for many, seafood is all they know. t.j. holmes joins us live from new orleans with one family's story. good morning, t.j. >> reporter: good morning, guys. you all hit on it right there. you said it. this disaster has taken away the livelihoods of so many people. many have been fishing these waters their whole lives. that's gone now. they've had to find something else to do. but for the vietnamese-american community, they say literally there is nothing else for them to do. they came to this country and the gulf waters gave them that american dream. but some say now it is just time for the american dream, part two. >> usually during the summer, imagine the crowd stacking high along the ceiling. >> how long has it been like this? >> ever since the oil spill. >> this is last of the jennifer
lee crab. >> yeah. last of it. >> reporter: after a decade, the jennifer lee seafood company in biloxi is down to this -- a few baskets of fresh crab. the owner has no hopes that more crab is on the way any time soon. so as of monday, he's shutting down the company he built from scratch. the company he named after his only daughter. you have any ideas yet what you're going to do? >> me? >> yeah. >> i don't know what now. >> he said like coming over to america, he had nothing in his hand. so this is just like the same thing again. >> reporter: the oil disaster forced the closure of the gulf waters where le's suppliers catch crab. his supply has essentially been cut off. le and other vietnamese-americans in the gulf are in a particularly dire situation -- 80% of them work in
the seafood industry. many have been doing this work since they fled their country after the vietnam war to start a new life in the united states and it's all they know how to do. >> it is my job. shrimp boat is my job. so i don't plan to go nowhere. >> reporter: this man is a shrimper who's been getting by working on the vessels of opportunity mobilized by bp as part of the oil spill cleanup. how long can you sustain this? how long can you make it by going out and working for bp before you run out of money? >> hmm. i have no idea. >> reporter: the les are ready to start over but for sentimental reasons not quite ready to let go of this place. why not just sell it? she say, how much are you offering? >> reporter: now i wanted to show that moment there at the end. because that really gives you an
idea of how this family is taking it in stride. i have never seen anything like this. i talked to so many people who of course are hurting, are losing businesses. this was the first couple i've ever talked to here that they were actually smiling and in some ways laughing. this is the way they put it to me, guys. hey, we survived the fall of saigon, we moved here to new orleans. we survived hurricane katrina. we'll survive this, too, and we'll move on to something else to do. guys? >> hopefully, we hope for the best for all of them. it's got to be so difficult. of course the claims process, are they dipping the toe in the water with that trying to see if they can get any type of compensation? >> reporter: they have been able to get some. the owner, as the owner, he gets $5,000. he can get that for a month. his wife as an employee can get a $1,000 check. but of course that is not really helping and meeting the bills. other fishermen here, vietnamese, say if you go out on these ves lgs sels of opportunid
collect money, you are not eligible for the claim. it is a double-edged sword,dy collect the claim money or try my work working for bp. it is a tough spot especially for the vietnamese community. a financial reform deal that was reached but what's in it and more importantly, what was left out? christine romans breaks it down for us. she's here "minding your business" next. 19 minutes past the hour. and get this year's colors up on the wall...this year. let's get better prices... and better paint. let's break out the drop cloths, rollers, brushes, and tape.
coming up now on 22 minutes after the hour. christine romans "minding your business" this morning. the financial reform bill, what's gh it and more importantly, what's not in it. >> the biggest rewriting of how we're going to relate to finance and how government is going to relate with wall street in 70 years. what's in it under one roof finally a consumer protection agency that's supposed to keep you protected from deceptive and unfair practices. it could be up to two years before that's put together. you could be seeing some results right away, like you might see the end of your free checking as the banks try to find ways to make money because they won't be able to make money on some of the ways they used to. that's my first warning out to you. a few things aren't in the bill, however. you are not going to have oversight for auto loans. it was exempt from this. every kind of mortgage loan, private student loan, everything you can think of that is your
personal financial contract is included will be covered and you will be protected in theory by the government but not auto loans. there can't be a mortgage reduction. this is the mortgage cramdown, mortgage reduction by the court. it was something that the consumer protection people really wanted. they wanted you to be able to go into bankruptcy and have the actual size of your mortgage reduced by the court nap wasn't included. there are mo caps on credit card interest rates. early on in the debate they were talking about 36% limits on how much -- 36%. i know. 36% limits on how much you could be charged on your interest rate. no caps or no fixes or fannie and freddie, these are the two -- >> they tabld thed that. >> they tabled that, which is basically a punt and it could be a very long time. there will be a lot of changes for the banks, the whole plumbing of the financial system has been brought up to date. you'll start to feel changes in your personal finances over the next year or two.
"romans' numeral" is 35 million a month. >> how much banks collect in fees? >> this is how much they spent lobbying to make sure that this bill would look the way they wanted it to look. since the beginning of january 2009, about $600 million all told. everyone who has a stake has been spending their money on this. >> christine romans "minding your business" this morning, thanks. >> the grueling and constant struggle to stay on course and no guarantee that you'll come back alive. as teen sailor abby sunderland heads home from her failed attempt at going around the world solo, i had a chance to go on-board a 43-foot yacht and check out the dangers and demands of what it would be like to be out there alone. we'll take you out on the waters next. it's 25 minutes past the hour. i'd like one of those desserts and some coffee.
27 minutes now after the hour. your top stories just minutes away. but first, an "a.m. original." something that you'll see only on "american morning." teen sailor abby sunderland is on her way back to california this morning. she was trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world when she says a rogue wave hit her boat in the indian ocean snapping her mast and dashing her dreams. >> yeah. she had a lot of other problems along the way. after her rescue, a lot of people questioned why would her parents allow her at age 16 to attempt to sail around the world all alone. i had a chance to climb on-board a similar boat that abby was on to see just how difficult it is
to be solo at sea. >> go to the other side. pull it in! pull it in! >> reporter: you have to move fast. >> now put the winch in there and turn it whichever way it will go. >> reporter: and it is physically demanding. >> abby's doing all this by herself out there? >> that's one of the simpler maneuvers. >> reporter: the captain, dick york, may say it is simple, but when you're sailing solo, nothing is easy. >> abby's now done her tack, she may have to go down and eat, go down and fix the watermaker, go down and make a radio call. there's all these other things that go on. >> reporter: captain york has been sailing for more than 30 years and has even sailed around the world with his wife, leslie, who's also his first mate. he took us out on the long island sound on his 43-foot sailboat. the conditions much calmer than what abby sunderland faced the day lerher 40-foot sailboat los
its mast in the indian ocean forcing her to make a distress call. >> keep going. keep going. lot more to go. >> reporter: the one thing i learned fast from captain york, the work never ends. there's that much of a shift when you have to wake up? >> you would wake up. >> how do you ever sleep? >> i don't know how the single sailors do it. i don't know how they do it. >> reporter: even with all her experience, computers, navigation and constant contact with the command center, many question the judgment of her parents in allowing a 16-year-old girl to attempt something so dangerous. captain york sees it differently. >> i'm not sure your average 16-year-old could do it. she's obviously very capable. all the things she did on her boat to keep it going. she obviously comes from a nautical family and has had training and has very good instincts. >> reporter: instincts put to the test by chronic sleep dev vags. without a crew to help, auto
pilot failure and stormy weather can spell disaster. >> some single-handed around the world races, several people have died. there is no certainty when you set out you'll come back. single-handed sailing there's no guarantee that you come back alive. >> no, absolutely. that's part of the -- i don't want to say thrill, but it's part of the challenge. >> reporter: we talked a lot about the dangers that you face when you're solo sailing at sea. one of them is to obviously prevent you from falling overboard and you wear a safety harness with a tether. there's safety points all across the point that you clip on to so that if you were to slip on deck you don't fall overboard. abby had a more advanced one that had a life preserver attached to it so if we were to fall in the water this would also inflate. another big challenge, dealing with being constantly alone. abby was sailing as fast as she could with as few stops as possible. leaving her alone at sea for weeks at a time. how do you deal with that isolation? >> it takes a personality that
says, it's beautiful, even when it's rough, it's beautiful. if you're out here, you're self-sufficient and it is a kind of nirvana that you're in. it is absolutely a high. >> there you go. captain york, i mean he loves it. they've done it many times, he and his wife did an around-the-world sail as well. he just says there's nothing like it. as for doing it alone, he calls that an extreme sport not having somebody with you. >> i can imagine. sailing is lovely. it's always better to do it if you're within a couple of hours of land though. the thrill of going around the world -- i remember when i was a kid national geographic followed robin lee grant, the first kid to sail solo. >> captain york also teaches a class at a yacht club for kids abby's age and even younger in life safety drills, dealing with man overboard and what to do in the event of an emergency. but he says solo sailing is unique to the sport.
it is an extreme part of it. it is not something that many people attempt to do. >> absolutely. you kind of have a certain sense of i guess real confidence to be able to do it. maybe something else, too. >> fearlessness is a good way to do it. checking the top stories, tropical storm alex in the gulf of mexico expected to become a hurricane, possibly some time today. the cnn weather team's forecasting that it will likely make landfall near the mexico-texas border but the storm could head north churning up waves that could effeaffect clean-up efforts off of the coast of louisiana for two weeks or more. 200 millions gallons of crude oil are spilling in the gulf every day. this morning, senator robert byrd, the west virginia democrat and longest serving member of congress in history, has died. he was 92 years old. senator byrd's office says he died just a few hours ago at a washington area hospital. he is a man who literally wrote the history of the senate, both
on the floor for more than 50 years and in four published volumes. supreme court nominee elena kagan will face tough questions when her confirmation hearings begin in a few hours. republicans say she lax judicial experience and is too liberal and they are poised for a fight. the top republican on the judiciary committee joins us. cnn has live coverage of the confirmation hearings beginning at noon eastern. it will be interesting to see how much information senators can actually get out of elena kagan. today her academic while impressive doesn't offer a lot of insight into her political leanings. >> this morning we are digging deeper. jason carroll joins us now. you spent some time with some of her closest friends. >> sure did. well, most of them tell me that she's modest, she's extremely approachable and that she's very intelligent. obviously these are qualities you want to see in a nominee. but first kagan has to get through the confirmation hearing, a process she finds
fault with saying it doesn't help the public learn something significant about a nominee. her friends are hoping the process shows she is the right person for the job. >> solicitor general and my friend, elena kagan. >> reporter: the announcement not entirely unexpected. elena kagan had been on the short list for some time. but it still came as somewhat of a shock to her friends, like kevin and josh. >> i sort of had to listen a few times to make sure i heard it right. >> it was very surreal standing next to the president. >> reporter: do you remember what your thoughts were when you heard that the president had chosen her? >> holy [ bleep ] -- oh, sorry. but then i thought, a peer of mine is going to be on the supreme court? it's like -- and you cover the michael jackson case? you know. >> reporter: toobin first met kagan at harvard law school back in the '80s.
>> my early impressions of elena were, even at harvard law school, which is full of people who are smart, and who think they're very smart, she was unusually intelligent. but also unusually well adjusted. >> reporter: harvard would play an important role in kagan's career. high points include law clerk for justice thurgood marshall, domestic policy director in the clinton white house, the first woman dean of the harvard law school, and solicitor general in president obama's administration. these two remember kagan back when they were harvard law students and she was the dean. if someone were to ask you, what's she really like? what would you say? >> i would say she has an enormous appetite for information. in all capacities. >> reporter: he also worked with kagan when she was a speech writer in the clinton administration. >> she is obviously incredibly bright and always well prepared
and you better know your stuff when you see her. >> reporter: kagan is not without critics who question her lack of judicial experience. if confirmed, she would be the first appointee in nearly 40 years who has not been a judge. >> so she does have a lack in that area. >> reporter: senator jeffrey sessions is the ranking republican on the judiciary committee. he plans to question kagan on a number of topics during the hearing, including gun control and abortion. but will she answer? in 1995 kagan criticized the process calling it a hollow charade. saying senators should insist a nominee reveal their views on important legal issues. i'm wondering if those words are going to come back to haunt her as she herself goes through the proceedings. >> well, i think so. >> reporter: you think so. >> well, i think they'll be raised. >> reporter: jeffrey toobin has a sense of how the hearings starting today will go. >> i think her critique of the hearings was dead-on. i expect she will not follow her
own advice and will instead follow the advice of the people in the white house which is always, say as little as possible. >> reporter: well, during kagan's confirmation hearing for solicitor general she was asked about her lack of judicial experience. she said then the communication skills she developed that made her an excellent teacher would also help her argue. most of the folks we talked to expect her to be confirmed but expect her also to face some tough and very real questions especially given what she wrote in chicago law review some time ago. >> you can't diss the hearings and say that they should be illuminating more of the background and character and political leanings of the nominee -- >> better be prepared to talk a little bit. >> yeah. see how that works out for her. jason carroll, thanks so much. next we'll talk with the ranking republican on the senate judiciary committee, senator jeff sessions to find out what elena kagan is in store for today. 38 minutes after the hour.
wraps up its current term, elena kagan, the president's selection to become the next high court justice, goes before the senate confirmation committee. the next guest says it won't and coronation. alabama senator jeff sessions is the ranking republican member on the committee. senator, before i ask you about elena kagan and the upcoming hearings, i want your thoughts on the passing of senator robert byrd. >> you know, it is a sad day for all of us. there is no one who loved the institution of the senate more and no one who was a better student of it. he'd written books about it, senate rules and history. he was a great orator. made a great speech one day i heard and remember well on how to make a speech. i used to catch him on friday mornings when he would come down and talk about various things. one day he raled against textbooks calling them
touchy-feely twaddle. >> no question he had an infectious passion for politics in america. so today we begin the confirmation hearings for elena kagan to become the next associate justice of the supreme court. you have said that a filibuster still might be possible here. why haven't you taken that off the table? >> well, let's see how this hearing goes. i think that's the right approach. this nominee does have serious problems, john. she has the least experience of any nominee in 50 years. she was a clinton operative for quite a number of years, the point person on efforts to restrict gun rights. point person on blocking partial-birth abortion. at harvard she barred the military from the recruiting offices, demeaned them in violation of law and her legal brief was rejected 8-0 by the supreme court. there are a number of things here that cause us to believe -- and any american to be concerned -- that she would be
an activist judge, someone willing to promote her agenda from the bench, not be objective. because her top judicial heroes have all been some of the most active judges in our history. >> on that point, one of the so-called activist judges that she has praised is retired israeli judge aaron barak. even though that judge she said he disagreed with him on legal and philosophical grounds also won praise from antonin scalia. conservative judges have praised him as well. >> she's closest and most admiring of american activist judges, but with regard to that justice scalia in his praising him as a person clearly distinguished his view of the role of a judge from that of judge aron barak in israeli.
she did not. she called him her hero and she said he was a great, great judge without the qualifications i think that clearly should have been made there. this is a big deal. judge posner said his ideas are just outside the american tradition of law. >> i want to also ask you about this idea of legal experience. five years ago, senator sessions, you said this of a supreme court nominee, "it is not necessary that she have previous experience as a judge in order to serve on the supreme court. it's perfectly acceptable to nominate outstanding lawyers to that position." you said that of president bush's nominee to the supreme court harriet miers. we all know what happened to her. but i'm wondering what's different between then and now other than this is a democratic nominee. >> i was a bit uneasy about harriet miers but i did support her initially. she had 26 years of law practice and it worked in the white house a number of years. this nominee has only two or three years of practice, mostly
academic and mostly political activities in government. this is the thinnest resume ever. she just hasn't had the depth of -- she's never tried a case. never cross examined a witness before a jury. this is a severely limited level of experience, i think. you can overcome it but it's clearly a deficiency. >> you just a second ago, senator sessions, pointed to harriet miers' white house experience as a qualifying factor but you point to elena kagan's white house experience as a potential disqualifying factor. what's the difference? >> i think a person who's worked as -- in the counsel's office in the white house does have some appreciation of some of the different kinds of issues that come before the court. but it's not the only thing. most cases deal with lawsuits and cities and counties all over america, the kind of things that routine lawyers learn. she had both. she had 26 years of practice.
>> the experience that elena kagan has had as slis to haolic general, is that enough for you? >> no. it is only a little bit over a year. 14 months. she argued in one of her cases, and i think wrongly, that the constitution would allow congress to ban a publication of pamphlets before an election day. she's interviewed -- intervened against arizona's law that said a business should not hire illegal aliens, just like the federal law does. so i think her positions there are not so sound. >> one other point. it is well known many people have talked about this, that she wrote that the confirmation process for a supreme court judge is "a vapid and hollow process." are those words going to come back to haunt her in the next couple of days? >> well, you know it is -- sometimes that has been so. i think in the last two nominations, alito and roberts, they've been really good exchange. she was talking about hearings before that.
so i think she will feel incumbent upon herself to be more open than a lot of nominees have. i hope we have a very good discussion. she's a good academic. she should be able to handle the questions easily. >> you say looking at some past hearings she was actually right? >> yeah. some of the hearings judges have virtually said nothing and they've -- have been too restrained, i believe. it's a balance you have to strike and it's lard do. >> point of agreement there between you and the nominee. we look forward to the hearings today. thanks so much, senator. good to talk to you this morning. >> thank you. cnn of course is going to have live coverage of the kagan confirmation hearings beginning at noon eastern. still ahead, former vice president dick cheney hospitalized with a heart problem. he's had a history of heart trouble. elizabeth cohen is going to be explaining what his latest ailment is. also, tropical storm alex slowly gaining strength.
east coast, got a threat of a lot of thunderstorms, which of course can potentially affect air travel. air travel. rep nolds wolf is here with a closer look. we are looking at the storm in the gulf, first. >> absolutely. it is amazing to see this thing intensify over the last couple of hours. this is in a weak anything state as it crossed the yucatan peninsula. as it is moving back over open water, it is like putting a kettle of water on a burning stone. it is going to start building up. in fact, as we walk over here to take a look at this, the latest path the national hurricane system is watching this and says it is going to intensify. the forecast brings it with winds making its way from thursday into friday. notice this. it is possibly making its way up to south of the texas border into mexico as we get to the end of the week. we'll watch it for you carefully with a lot of change occurring
with the storm. we'll have both eyes on it very carefully. also, coming up next hour, we'll take a look at the travel weather and show you what to expect. you mentioned storms in dallas. we could see those in new york, philadelphia and the nation's capital before the day is out. we'll send it back to you in new york. >> thank you so much. this morning's top stories just minutes away, including a developing story. senator robert byrd, the longest serving member in history, has died at the age of 92. we'll take a look back at one of the most interesting people ever to serve our country. ments. also, elena kagan's big moment, a lifetime on the supreme court on the line. we'll take you inside the hearing room where her confirmation begins in a few hours. also, to catch a predator. scientists tracking sharks k. they sense where the oil in the gulf is going? those stories and more coming your way at the beginning of the top of the hour. that's why we'g one million dollars every hour... to improve our technology and your safety.
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from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, but doctors say other conditions developed over the weekend. byrd was elected to the house in 1952, to the senate in 1958, and he has been there ever since. >> also new development this is morning, former vice president dick cheney could be released from a washington hospital today. over the weekend cheney was treated for pains related to his long-time battle with heart disease. >> elizabeth cohen is live in atlanta for us. they call this problem, quote, progressive fluid retention in his heart. what does that really mean? >> reporter: well, it is related to what happened three years ago. if you remember, cheney was diagnosed with eightry yal fibrillation. what that means is that the heart is not beating regularly. it is beating irregularly and very fast. what that means is that the heart is not circulating blood through the body in a normal fashion. and what that leads to is fluid retention. swelling in the legs and the arms and the ankles and other
places. it can also lead to weakness and to difficulty breathing. again, this appears according to the cardiologists we talked to, be a complication of the atrial fibrillation that he has suffered from for three years. >> how does this affect the vice president's health overall? >> well, we asked several cardiologists this. if dick cheney were your patient, what would you be concerned about? what they said is this could possibly be a sign his heart disease has progressed. in other words, he's already had five heart attacks, the swelling, the fluid retention could be a sign he has more vessels blocked. vessels that deliver blood to the heart, and that's the first thing that they would check for to make sure thatis coronary artery disease isn't even worse than it was before. >> one thing we hear a lot about, particularly people who have had heart attacks in the past, is congestive heart failure. does that indicate that could be a process that's underway?
>> reporter: if this fluid retention is a sign that he does have more blocked arteries, and that his coronary heart disease has gotten worse, then certainly congestive heart failure is something they want to consider. they want to make sure that they prevent that. it is difficult to know, of course, exactly what the former vice president is going through because we don't have access, as we shouldn't, to his medical records. but certainly that would be a concern at the top of the list. >> well, we hope everything is okay and that he is released. he is expected to be released today. thank you for the update, elizabeth cohen, we appreciate it. top stories coming your way after the break. stay with us. ♪ when you have a different perspective on things you don't end up with just another car. you end up with a saab.
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is qualified to serve on the high court. we are live with a preview in a moment. plus, all eyes in the gulf are on alex. the tropical storm is back over warm water again today and gaining strength. it is expected to steer clear of the oil spill, but the experts warn nothing is certain, and certainly it will kick up a lot of waves as well. a full update coming from your hurricane headquarters. also, former president bill clinton opening up about what he calls the number one issue facing americans. also, find out why he's doing his best not to get choked up at daughter chelsea's upcoming wedding. and the a.m. blog is up and running this morning. join the live conversation at cnn.com/amfix. first, in just a few hours, supreme court nominee elena kagan will be on the senate hot seat as her confirmation hearings begin. she is the choice to replace justice stevens on the high court. >> republicans question her lack of judicial experience, and there's talk of a possible filibuster, but this could be
kagan's confirmation hearing to lose. dana bash is live inside the senate confirmation room this morning. give us a preview on what the nominee could expect today. >> reporter: first of all, this is the hot seat where elena kagan will be sitting four-and-a-half hours from now where she begins several days of hearings to become what will be the 112 supreme court justice, and just the fourth woman to serve on the supreme court. interestingly, she actually has an inside understanding of what goes on here because back in 1993 she was hired by this committee to help with the process of confirming ruth bader ginsburg to the supreme court. now, at the time, after that experience, she said she was disgusted with the experience because the person who sat in the seat didn't answer the questions. she called it a hollow they are raid. you can be sure that will come back to haunt her, but she will be facing this panel. this is the judiciary committee where all of the members are going to be sitting. over on this side over here,
this is the republican side. and these are the members who are going to want to press her, obviously, the most on a number of things, primarily about the fact she has never been on the bench. she doesn't have the stacks and stacks of decisions to pour through in order to get a sense of how she would really rule when she is on a federal bench of any sort. and what we e already hearing from republicans, especially the one sitting right here, jeff sessions, he spoke this morning on ""american morning"" about the fact he and other republicans are concerned about her political experience. >> she has the least experience of any nominee in 50 years. she was a clinton operative for quite a number of years. the point person on efforts to restrict gun rights. the point person on blocking partial birth abortion. and at harvard she barred the military from the recruiting offices, demeaning them in violence of law, and her legal brief was rejected 8-0 by the
supreme court. there are a number of things here that cause us to believe, and any american, to be concerned that she would be an activist judge. >> reporter: now, you heard senator sessions talking at several issues, but one in particular we are going to hear the most about when the senators come in to give their opening statements, and that is when elena kagan was dean of harvard law school, she tried to block military recruiters from coming on campus. why? because of the pentagon's don't ask, don't tell policy against gays in the military. that's one of the issues, but there are many issues senators have been looking at, particularly, the documents from the clinton era when she was in the domestic policy council and going through gun control to abors issues. >> bottom line, democrats say, look, the republicans would have found a problem in anybody that the president put up. the bottom line is there's no smoking gun that would possibly derail her nomination, is there?
>> reporter: not that we know of. you are exactly right. the senator who is are all going to be sitting on this side, there are a lot more chairs on this side was because the democrats have a majority here. they are going to try to not rock the boat. they are talking about the fact that republicans are grasping at straws. this is what bob menendez, one of the members of this panel, said on sunday. >> some of john's colleagues and the republican caucus had ten angels swearing this person was the most qualified for the supreme court was a centerist and would follow the rule of law and obey precedence. they would say, too extreme. i lay in kagan, law school, dean of harvard, solicitor general, first woman to do so, endorsed by the last 20 solicitor generals, republican and democrats alike, she will be an excellent supreme court judge and i look forward to voting for
her. >> reporter: and sbrepsing, to toss back to the approach that the white house and democrats have taken to this nomination process, she has met with 62 members of the united states senate. that's far fewer than justice so to mayor met with. she met with 90-plus. perhaps that's a sign of the fact that democrats in the white house think that it is smooth sailing for her, who knows, but you really can't find many people in the republican or democratic side who think this will ultimately be a problem for her, but you can bet that the republicans will give it their best shot. as jeff sessions said, a confirmation, not a coronation. >> he seemed determined to be thorough in his questioning. we look forward to that. cnn will have live coverage of the confirmation hearings beginning at noon eastern today. also, sad news from washington this morning. senator robert byrd has died at the age of 92. the west virginia democrat was a
legendary figure in congress and served longer than anyone in american history. he was elected to the house in 1952 and the senate in 1958 and never left. snard senator byrd's office said he died overnight in a washington hospital. meanwhile, all eyes are on tropical storm alex. with the storm now over warmer water, it is intensifying and could become a hurricane some time today. >> the cnn weather team is forecasting that alex will likely miss the oil spill area, but that nothing is certain during hurricane season. we bring in reynolds wolf in our hurricane headquarters. you call it the cone of uncertainty. >> the cone of uncertainty. absolutely. >> it is stul still uncertain in the gulf. >> yes. things get a little vague. one thing, in particular, is that these storms are interaction with land mass. usually the storms are robbed of their primary source being warm
water. as this storm came across the yucatan peninsula, it was a brief speed bump for a speeding car. there was not a great deal of high elevation. a lot of mountains are there in the yucatan. it is now moving back over open water. it is expected to intensify. how strong is it going to be? well, according to the latest forecast from the national hurricane center, it will get much stronger as we make our way to 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. the wind at 75. a minimal hurricane. category 1 as soon as it reaches the threshold of 74. then winds of 100 answer 'tis pated by wednesday. winds at 135 miles per hour by thursday. and right near mexico's border by thursday afternoon as well. we have the cone of up certainty. a good chance the storm could
make its way to texas or near mexico. it is not out of the realm of possibility that the storm dies out altogether. ly tell you, it does look like strengthening is a possibility and it will have minute mall impact on the oil spill cleanup in terms of stronger wave action. other than that, for the time being, things look pretty good on the minimal effect it could have on the oil cleanup. back to you in new york. >> all right. cone of uncertainty. that sounds like something from get smart. we'll hope the hurricane misses by that much. on the beaches on the mainland of mississippi this morning, the mayor says crews have started picking up tar balls and oil globs that look like moose patties. that's chocolate mousse. state officials say the crude is wash ashore in four different
spots, but so far no beaches have been closed. the weekend g-20 summit in toronto played out with a backdrop of protests, some turned violent. pepper spray and tear gas was used to disperse the demonstrators who set several police cars on fire around the city. it is the kind of colorful language you can get when joe biden gets a little too close to an open microphone. the vice president was in milwaukee on saturday. the campaign for senator rust finegold when he stopped at a custard shop. here's what happened when the vice president tried to pay for his cone. >> what do we owe you? >> don't worry, it's on us. you lower our taxes. >> you can say something nice instead of being a smart [ bleep ] all the time. >> the store owner said he enjoyed the bantor from vice
president. still ahead, the ban of deep water oil drilling is impacting many far away from the gulf. we'll highlight that in just a moment. it is ten minutes past the hour. you take just once a month. it's simponi™, and taken with methotrexate, it helps relieve the pain, stiffness, and swelling of ra with one dose a month. visit 4simponi.com to see if you qualify for a full year of cost support. simponi™ can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious and sometimes fatal events can occur, such as infections, cancer in children and adults, heart failure, nervous system disorders, liver or blood problems, and allergic reactions. before starting simponi™, your doctor should test you for tb and assess your risk of infections, including fungal infections and hepatitis b. ask your doctor if you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections,
welcome back to the most news in the morning. it is 12 minutes after the hour now. day 70 of the gulf oil disaster. this morning, another sign of miscommunication along the west coast. >> with the ban on deepwater oil drilling hurting those far away from the spill, the government says bp is off the hook for all
their loss. this may be news to the man in charge of handling the claims. we are talking about ken feinberg and the interesting comments he made to you about that very issue. >> reporter: yeah, kieran. you usually tell the doctor which patients he operates on. you tell the boss what he's in charge of. granted, ken feinberg doesn't take charge for a few weeks, but still it seems like there's a very recent deal struck to cover people who were not going to be covered under the claims process. first the oil spill itself took out the fishermen and restaurant owners, but bp set up a $20 billion fund to cover their damages. president obama's six-month ban shut down deepwater drilling, and bp set aside another $100 million to pay the workers on those oil rigs. but the truckers, loaders, caterers and cleaners that supported the shut down rigs had
nothing, except rising anger at washington over what the ban has done to them. take anthony tibido. how is this affecting you? >> well, i basically have no job. i'm normally checking in eight to 12 trucks a day loading up boats to go offshore. i did none. no boats out. i feel like a dead man walking. i know i'm just waiting for the ax to fall, because it's got to. that company cannot survive holding on to guys like me. they can't. >> reporter: is this just affecting people who live right along the gulf coast of louisiana? >> no. no. i live in atlanta. i drive to work every week. the riggers and the crane operators and stuff, they come from mississippi. you know, there are some from alabama. >> reporter: this weekend we took their concerns to ken feinberg. >> how are we supposed to feed our families, pay our bills, get to work? >> i understand that you only want what you're entitled to as
an unfortunate victim of this spill. >> reporter: the man president obama appointed to take charge of the claims' process to see if their damage can be covered. will you be handling any claims at all for people whose business has been affected by the moratorium? >> yes. i now have discovered, i didn't realize this until yesterday, but the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction. >> reporter: that's a huge development. we did not know that before. >> i didn't either. i just learned yesterday that the administration and bp have agreed that the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction. >> reporter: you know, it was good to let the boss know exactly what is going to be going on. again, this is a pretty recent deal between the obama administration and bp. this is not something bt agreed to early on. the moratorium was something imposed by the federal government. and it really sheds some light,
i remember just in last week, we were talking to you about how bp had come out publicly for the first time and said, we, too, support getting rid of the moratorium. early on they had supported the idea of a moratorium as a real safety feature. now it sort of puts things in a different light in that they will now be responsible for a lot of the claims as a result of the moratorium. >> yes. just amazing that it was a surprise to ken fineberg. holy mackerel. >> reporter: yep. >> chris lawrence for us in new orleans. thank you so much. well, there's a growing con census that the amount of financial process leveled on bp could be a bad thing for the company, and if it is a bad thing for the company, it could be a bad thing for america and potentially the rest of the world as well. the british prime minister says we have to keep this company healthy. christine romans is minding your business coming right up. it is 17 minutes after the hour. also still ahead, solo sailing and the dangers and demands of being out there
alone. 16-year-old abby sunderland's failed trip ends today with her finally coming home. i had a chance to go out on the water with a sailor who has done it around the world and explains some of the biggest pitfalls. 17 minutes past the hour. look -- we're number one in motorcycle insurance, a leader in boat and rv, and -- oh, wait, let me guess. you're the number-one truck insurer. wow, first guess! nailed it. oh, you're psychic! what am i thinking of right now? tacos? yes! helping you save money no matter what you drive. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
♪ >> 20 minutes past the hour right now. christine romans is minding your business right now. she is joining us to talk about what -- we have been talking about the financial regulation and whether or not we are going to see differences in that, but also just how much money it is costing bp because of this oil
spill. >> that's right. the financial regulation is a big topic of conversation at the g-20. so was it with the u.s. and u.k. the fate of bshs p and the word out of the u.k. is that bp cannot be destroyed because everyone needs it to pay the claims to get us out of the mess. that was the message, at least, from the u.k. to the u.s. in the by lateral meeting. david cameron says it is in both country's best interest to make sure we have a strong, stable company in bp. bp at the same time issuing an update on the spill costs. response to date, $2.65 billion. the stock has been cut in half. the value of the company has been destroyed by the tune of $100 billion. that's an awful lot of money with 80,000 claims made. 41,000 has been paid. bp is giving us the updates periodedly. a third piece of news about the bp situation that i want to get out, especially for those listening to us from the gulf
coast. the 80,000 people with claims, the irs points out the claims are taxable income. lost property is not taxable income. that usually is not taxed, but if you get replacement income from bp, remember, you are going to be filing taxes on that. just keep in mind as you are trying to do this delicate dance here, it will be your finances as we go through here. just a gentle reminder. the irs is saying that in the next few weeks they are holding road shows around the region to help those with tax issues related to this. a lot of people have lost an fu >> in addition te rig workers, some of the boats are losing $20,000 a day, and there are dozens on them. >> it is a small scale for the small business owners, for the big industries and trying the hard part of figuring out how to pay for it. 39,000 people, this is the
update from bp, on just what's happening in the recovery and the relief response right now. >> this is how many people they hired for the clean up? >> yes, 39,000. you know, that's the size of a small city of people. they are also saying 5,000 ships and boats, 110 aircraft, and something like 275-controlled burns. so i mean, if the work goes on, it's a pace there. >> it is amazing when you fly out to the rig and come upon it, it is like a scene out of a movie. >> the burning of the -- >> just the whole thing. it is like coming around and finding the imperial fleet. >> all the ships, people, aircraft and boats. >> what is also surreal is it is still gushing 70 days later. no end in sight. >> right. bp has the two relief wells they are drilling still holding to their initial hope that some time in the month of july, they are going to be able to stop the
gush. but every day hundreds of millions of dollars. >> i think they just updated it to mid-august for the relief well. we'll see what happens, but it is still going. >> okay. >> christine romans, thank you so much. meanwhile, we'll speak with jeffrey tubin. he's our law expert here, but he's a former classmate of elena kagan as she gets ready to take the hot seat. we'll get his thoughts on the confirmation hearing. ttle stron. and our thinking a little greener. let's grab all the bags and all the plants and all the latest tools out there. so we can turn all these savings into more colorful shades of doing. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. we've made a special buy on off clip-on for just $6.88 each.
something you will only see here on american morning, teen sailor abby sunderland is on her way back to california this morning. she was trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world when she says a rogue wave hit her boat in the indian association ocean and snapped her mast and ended her dream. >> after her rescue, many were questioning how her parents would allow her to attempt to sail around the world in the first place, and also the safety of being alone out there in the open water. so i climbed aboard a similar boat abby was on to see how difficult it is to be solo at sea. >> go to the other side. pull that end. pull that end. >> you have to move fast. >> now put the wind channel in there and turn it either way. whichever way it will go. >> and it is physically demanding. >> abby is doing all this out there? >> that's one of the simpler maneuvers. >> captain dick york says it is never easy.
>> now she has to go down and eat, fix the water maker, go down and make a radio call, there's all these other thing that is go on. >> he has sailed around the world with his first mate and wife, less lee. the conditions are much calmer than what abby sunderland faced the day her 40-foot sailboat last its mast in the indian ocean forcing her to make a distress call. >> keep going. you have a lot more to go. another foot. >> but one thing i learned fast from kathy york, the work never end. that much of a shift when you wake up? >> you would wake up. >> how do you ever sleep? >> i don't know how the sing of single-handers do it. even with her experience and constant contact with the command center, many question the judgment of her parents in
allowing a 16-year-old girl to attempt something so dangerous. captain york sees it differently. >> i'm not sure your average 16-year-old could do it. she is obviously very capable. all the things she did on her boat to keep it going, she obviously comes from a nautical family and has had training and very good instincts. >> sleep deprivation is one of the many challenges. stormy weather can spell disaster. >> some of the single-handed races around the world, several people have died, but there's no certainty when you she set out that you are coming back. >> there's no certainty that you come back alive. >> absolutely. there's part of the -- i don't want to say thrill, but that's part of the challenge. >> we talked a lot about the dangers you face when solo sailing at sea. one is to prevent you from falling overboard, and you wear
a safety harness with a at the timer. there are safety points all across the board to clip onto. if you slip on deck, then you don't fall overboard. abby had a life preserver attached to it. if she would fall into the water, this would inflate. another big challenge, dealing with being constantly alone. abby was sailing as fast as she could with as few stops possible leaving her alone at sea for weeks at a time. how do you deal with the isolation? >> it takes a personality that says, it is beautiful, even when it is rough, it is beautiful. around here you are self-sufficient. and it is kind of a nirvana that you are in. it is absolutely a high. >> there you go. captain york also teaches union sailors, some abby's age and younger, about sailing safety. he and his wife do the man overboard and life raft drills at the yacht club as a way to give back and to make it safer
for the younger kids. for the young kids, it is a thrill. and it is something they really love to do. so he tries to make sure they are as safe as possible. >> sailing is spectacular. i used to take month-long vacations on my sailboat in my 20s. i tell you, when you are by yourself out there in the ocean, as you said, you have sleep deprivation, loneliness. who do you talk to while you are out there? >> she had a lot of -- the interesting thing is she had a lot of modern technology. she was blogging and doing video conferencing, but both auto pie louts failed, her heater failed, she was dealing with mechanical fixes the entire way. i don't know how peaceful that can be. >> when the autopilot goes out, you can't sleep. wow. tropical storm alex is in the gulf of mexico. expected to become a hurricane, possibly some time today. the cnn weather team is forecasting it will likely make landfall near the mexico/texas border. but the storm could head up north churning up waves to
affect cleanup efforts off the coast of louisiana for with two weeks. 2.5 million gallons of crude are spilling into the gulf every day. also, senator robert byrd, the west virginia democrat is being remembered by his colleagues today after news that he died. he was the longest serving member in congress in history. he was 92 years old. senator byrd's office said she died at a washington hospital. he literally rewrote the history of the senate in four published volumes. in just a few hours' time, elena kagan makes her chance at a seat on the supreme court. republicans are concerned about her lack of judicial experience and her political independence. our senior legal analyst has known elena kagan for 30 years now. >> he is joining us from washington to talk about his friend, the nominee and what to expect in the confirmation
process. good morning, jeff. great to talk to you. >> today is the nerd super bowl. today is the day we have the kagan hearings started, the last day of the supreme court's term across the state. justice stevens' last day on the bench, the court mourning the loss of martin ginsburg, ruth good dayers ruth bader ginsburg's husband who died yesterday. >> a big reason people are watching today is what elena kagan talked about in 1995, calling the hearings a hollowed they are cherade. will she follow her own advice today? >> well, she's be reminded of the article by many republican senators over the course of the way. she'll be more forthcoming than
sonya sew toe mayor was. because her views are so unknown publicly. she's never been a judge. she has not held policy position where is we can know what she thinks about the illegal issues. she will not go case by case to say i agree and disagree with that one. but she'll let us in on how she approaches the questions, more than the other nam knees have. >> she got agreement from senator jeff sessions this morning, but sessions also makes a point about her lack of, not only judicial experience, but experience as an attorney. he supported harry myers nomination for a time saying you don't necessarily need judicial experience, but harriet myers had a long history as an attorney. >> that's true. it just gends on what kind of experience you want. approximately, 40 of the 112 individuals who have served on the supreme court did not have
prior you judicial experience. william douglas did not have experience, but it is true elena kagan has a specific kind of experience. mostly as a goth lawyer and a law professor. not a lawyer with clients. the senate has to decide whether that's the kind of experience that's appropriate for a supreme court justice. >> the bottom line is, is there anything that standout to you that could potentially stand in her way of sailing through the nomination, the confirmation? >> the bottom line is there are 58 democratic senators with the los of senator byrd yesterday. that's a lot of room for elena kagan to play with. she's got -- there is very little sense that i've received from the republican that is they are planning a filibuster against her. with 58 democratic votes, that's a pretty good cushion for barring any sort of bombshell disaster in her testimony. she's probably going to get
confirmed. >> finally, jeff, on the issue of experience, whether you're an attorney or you're a judge, you can make the arts. but the fact she was the dean of the harvard of law school, when you look at the supreme court justices now will be ivy leaguers now, does that count for something? >> well, i think that's a problem as a graduate of harvard law school. there will be seven products of harvard law school on the court, two products of yale law school and that's it. it is a big country. president obama and president bush talked about city versety on the bench. i think they could use for law school diversity, but there were other factors that prompted president obama to nam night her. but it is weird, it is also strange there will be, assuming kagan is confirmed, six catholics, two yous, no remembers of any other religions. it would be good, i think, to
have products of other parts of the country, other law schools on the bench as well. >> i guess harvard is very happy todd, if that's the case, buzz it certainly bodes well for them and their reputation. bottom line, what type of impact will she have on the court. we have seen many 5-4 decisions. will that change? >> chances are her record will be similar to john paul stevens, who she'll replace. stevens was a moderate liberal. more liberal in the later years. elena kagan is a democrat. she had an important job in the clinton white house and the obama justice department. she is someone who reflects the democratic party. that doesn't tell you everything about her judicial philosophy, but it will tell you some things. and that was likely to be similar to john paul stevens in the sense that the 5-4 splits probably won't change, but she's only 50 years old. she's going to be there,
presumably, for a very long time. when you change one justice, you don't change just one justice. you change the whole court. so the dynamic is changing quickly at the court. there have been four appointments in five years after no appointments for 11 years. we'll see where this all shakes out. it is a realtime of change. >> we are looking forward to it. jeff is part of our coverage today. >> thank you, jeff. live coverage of the kagan confirmation hearings that begin at noon eastern here on cnn. >> the nerd super bowl today. bill clinton goes to the world cup. who goes with him? our wolf blitzer asking the questions. should the usa host the world cup? plus, will the president will able to walk his daughter down the aisle without shedding a tear? we'll find out. 37 minutes after the hour.
>> if you can give me a 30-second answer right now, what's the most important issue facing the world right now? >> in the short-term, the most important issue is fixing the economy so it works for ordinary people. and the long-term, the most important issue, is changing the way we produce and consume energy. in the medium term, the most important issue is dealing with the security challenges so we don't destroy each other before our kids have a chance. >> while in africa, the former president also cheered on team usa at the world cup. they are looking at hosting the 2018 or the 2022 world cup. he says it would be good for soccer if the world cup returned to the u.s. >> make the case why the united states should host the world cup games in 2018 or 2022.
>> read the story today about the enormous viewership in the united states and the celebrations on the streets of ganean americans from south florida to philadelphia. we don't have to build any stadiums. we can give you the stadiums. we can fill them up. and we can guarantee every single team that goes to the world cup a home crowd, because that's why we ought to be there. >> the former president also talked about his daughter chelsea's upcoming wedding and he explained why he's going to do his best not to get all choked up on the big day. >> first of all, all of us here want to wish you and secretary clinton congratulations, your daughter is about to get married. and we wish you only happiness. you have to get ready as the father of the bride to walk her down the aisle. can you do that without crying?
>> i don't know. and one of the rare arguments that i had with my daughter in high school, and they were rare, she always did great honor to our family. looked at her and said, i consider being president my second most important job. i think anybody who has ever had a child believes it is the best thing that's ever happened to them, and i don't know, but i'll tell you this. i'm profoundly grateful for not only her life, but i like my son-in-law to be, and i admire him a lot. he's a remarkable human being, and i'm very blessed. but i'm going to try not to cry, because it is not about me, it is her. i don't want to be mentioned in
the story, except that i didn't stumble walking her down the aisle. >> do you think it will be possible for him not to shed a tear? >> i don't think so. he looked like he was getting choked up talking about it. >> just thinking about it. >> wow. that was great stuff by wolf getting a chance to talk to the former president. >> wolf knows what he's talking about when it comes to walking a daughter down the aisle, because he did it last year. >> there you go. scientists tag shashs. they are spying on their travels to see how the gulf oil spill could be affecting the predators of the sea. john is a zell louisiana goes along for the ride. and alex is gaining strength in the gulf of mexico. is it headed to the cleanup zone? reynolds wolf is tracking that for us. it is 44 minutes after the hour.
welcome back to cnn's ""american morning"." we have been watching this storm over the weekend make it way across the yucatan peninsula and now moving back over open water. it is intensifying. in the latest forecast from the nation until hurricane center, the storm should continue on a northwesterly trajectory. getting into wednesday and fast forwarding to thursday, winds are expected to increase to 110 miles an hour. the gusts will be stronger approaching 135 miles an hour. it will be moving into an area with very warm water and very little in terms of upper level wind sheer that could tear the storm apart. conditions have been
strengthening and they are favorable. the effect on the oil spill should be minimal. heavier waves are a possibility, but in terms of making a direct hit on the oil slick, i do not believe it is going to happen, although a lot of things can change. speaking of changes, we are watching the computer model that is have varying. we are going to watch this for you very carefully. we are hoping you stick around to watch more "american morning" straight ahead. you take just once a month. it's simponi™, and taken with methotrexate, it helps relieve the pain, stiffness, and swelling of ra with one dose a month. visit 4simponi.com to see if you qualify for a full year of cost support. simponi™ can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious and sometimes fatal events can occur, such as infections, cancer in children and adults, heart failure, nervous system disorders, liver or blood problems, and allergic reactions. before starting simponi™, your doctor should test you for tb
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whooping cough. >> elizabeth cohen is joining us live in atlanta. this is the state's worst outbreak in five years. what's going on and why is it happening now? >> reporter: whooping cough outbreaks happen every five years. we are seeing a big outbreak right now. here's what happens. the reason why we are seeing deaths among babies. babies set vaccinated around two, four and six months of age, but the vaccine doesn't take until the six-month mark. up until six months, babies are vulnerable. if the people around them, the people who take care of them, the people in the community have whooping cough, they are vulnerable to getting whooping cough. they have very little immunity to it. >> what can people do to protect themselves? >> reporter: the first thing they can do is get vaccinated. the centers for disease control recommends people get vaccinated every ten years. you should be getting vaccinated as an adult every ten years.
that's the best thing to do to protect your baby, because your baby is vulnerable. a lot of babies don't know they are supposed to do this, and a lot of babies don't know they need to get vaccinations as an adult. lookout for the symptoms. whooping cough starts as simply a cough. it is simply a cold that just looks like any other cold. it doesn't look like any particular, but it gets more violent. the cough doesn't go away. you hear the classic whoop sound. i know that sounds silly, but it sounds like a whoop. you are looking for a cough, cold, congestion that doesn't go away. and with a cough that doesn't sound like a regular cough. get your baby to the pediatrician. >> i think after what you said, a lot of adults are saying, vaccinated for whooping cough every ten years? i don't remember when i last got vaccinated. good tips this morning. elizabeth cohen, thank you very much. >> thank you. what can sharks tell us about the oil spill?
john sa rella goes along to take tissue samples. it is 53 minutes after the hour. [ jet engine roaring ] hey! [ tires screech ] [ female announcer ] when business travel leaves you drained, re-charge with free high-speed internet and free hot breakfast. comfort suites. power up. two times with comfort suites or any choice hotel, you can feed a family of four. book now at choicehotels.com to start earning your $50 restaurant gift card.
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56 minutes past the hour. welcome back to the most news in the morning. the gulf coast oil spill could threaten the environment for sharks to eat and breathe. >>son john zarrella tagged along off the coast of florida. take a look. >> reporter: the gulf of mexico university researchers are capturing and studying sharks. the research may very well lead to a better understanding of how the oil spill is affecting these creatures at the top of the food chain. a six-foot shark -- >> we have a nice lemon, guys. >> reporter: the researchers work quickly taking blood and tissue samples, measurements.
>> 180. >> reporter: neil is studying the mike a terror habits of sharks in florida waters. the oil spill has given his work a new more urgent dimension. >> there's the possibility the animals may be able to sense the oil and actually move away from it. it is really unknown right now. >> reporter: this lemon shark will provide valuable data, but when it comes to what hammerslag is looking for, it is, well, a lemon. he's after the great sharks, tigers, hammerheads, bulls. they travel greater distances. if his team land one, it will be tagged with a satellite transmitter. if the shark goes near or into the oil, hammer there's slag will know it. one shark hammerslag's team tagged transmitted for nearly three months. but a couple days after the explosion, the transmissions suddenly stopped. coincidence?
perhaps. here's what hurley the hammerhead's track looked like the days before it disappeared. >> the tag could have failed or it headed off somewhere else into deep water and has not come up in the last few months, but that's very unlike the shark's character. whose biopsy? >> reporter: on this day at sea, the lemons keep coming. three blacktips, too. the blood and issue from these guys will be tested for consultations of high two hydrocarbons from oil. the sharks could easily be contamina contaminated, even if they never swim through the oil. >> they don't want people catching these fish, but i don't know if the sharks got a memo. >> reporter: the reduced shark population impacts the balance of nature. there will be enough work, scientists say, for researchers to study the effects of oil on the sharks for decades.
john? kieran? >> john zarrella for us. fascinating to see results of the study. >> i know it. >> you can tell where the oil is going. >> right. and the impacts on animals, sometimes fish are the last one toss be impacted because they know how to get out of the way as opposed to turtles. >> sharks have a good sensory system as well. maybe they will get good data from that. take a look at this. prince harry falling and bouncing off his royal rear-end at a polo match in new york. check this out. he was about to take a swing when the horse puts on the brakes. he goes over the horse, lands on his feet, he hung onto the reigns, grab onto the neck, he flipped on his royal bum. he got back on the saddle and finished the match. >> if you are going to fall, he did it prelty well. he was raising money for aids in africa. he got cheers from a-listers in the audience after he fell and he got back up